Yankees would ‘love’ a reunion with top free agent starter

MLB: World Series-Arizona Diamondbacks at Texas Rangers
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With the Yankees lacking a fifth starter, the team is still monitoring the free-agent market, and Jordan Montgomery’s name pops up once again. According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, the Yankees would “love’ a reunion with the southpaw, who is coming off the best season of his career but could command a nine-figure contract. Pitching has become a clear need for the Bronx Bombers, but the pitching market could drive Montgomery’s price to the point where he makes north of $150 million on the open market.

Brian Cashman and Scott Boras have had many negotiations in the past, and the long-time GM will have to see if he can wait out Montgomery’s market in the hopes that he falls into their laps.

Yankees Still Looking For Stability in the Rotation

mlb: wildcard-texas rangers at tampa bay rays, jordan montgomery, yankees
Oct 3, 2023; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery (52) reacts after striking out Tampa Bay Rays pinch hitter Junior Caminero (1) to end the seventh inning during game one of the Wildcard series for the 2023 MLB playoffs at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, Jordan Montgomery showed off an ability to remain durable on the mound and pitch deep into games, tossing 188.2 innings pitched at the tune of a 3.20 ERA. While he was effective in the first half with the St. Louis Cardinals, he dominated with the Texas Rangers and also provided excellent innings in the postseason en route to a World Series win. With the Yankees in desperate need of pitching, the team could sorely use an arm like Montgomery who can pitch deep into games and has had a remarkably clean bill of health, making 32 starts in back-to-back seasons and at least 30 starts over his last three.

His pitch repertoire has matured and developed as he’s gotten older as well, as we saw him mix in his secondaries more with his sinker to better generate chases and whiffs. Among qualified pitchers in the second half, Jordan Montgomery had the 10th-best Swinging Strike Rate (13.4%) and the sixth-best O-Swing% (37.2%) as he relied more on his curveball and changeup while showing the ability to go upstairs with his four-seamer if needed. When you account for his playoff run, Montgomery logged the second-most innings in all of baseball last season behind just Zac Gallen of the Diamondbacks.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at New York Yankees
Jul 31, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery (47) pitches in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

If the Yankees believe the pitcher he was in Texas could be the pitcher he is going forward, they might be getting a top-of-the-line starter who can anchor the rotation alongside Gerrit Cole. The problem currently is that as mentioned earlier, he’s expected to get a six-year $150 million deal, and that would probably be too rich for the Yankees’ blood given their current financial commitments in the rotation. Gerrit Cole ($36 million), Carlos Rodon ($27 million), and Jordan Montgomery ($25 million) would all be in their 30s making significant money for the next half-decade.

Getting that number closer to $22 million a year over five years would better fit what the Yankees are looking for, but the pitching market this winter has been inflated due to the demand. What could aid New York in negotiations is the lack of ready suitors for Montgomery, as Jeff Passan also added that the Red Sox are more focused on the trade market, and the Rangers feel uncertain about what they can offer due to the financial crunch their TV deal conundrum has put them in. The Mets are reportedly not looking to shop at the top of the free agent market for pitching, but the Phillies could be a dark horse team for Monty.

Jordan Montgomery coming back to the Bronx seems like a realistic outcome, but it depends on whether the price is right for the Yankees after their whiff on Yoshinobu Yamamoto.